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Transparent Clusters in the Cloud

January 7th, 2009

3 Leaf Systems is working on a very interesting product that they call the next generation of server virtualization. Basically, they say they can take a pool of low cost commodity hardware and create a transparent cloud cluster.

3Leaf Systems enable a “cloud computing” environment to be built from low-cost commodity servers by providing virtualization of CPU & Memory for an entire server farm. With 3Leaf technology, a group of servers can look like one big server that has one pool of CPU processing and one pool of memory that can be dynamically allocated and/or repurposed to applications as needed, without any modifications to operating systems.

This is a very cool concept and one that I will be watching very carefully. Doing this at all is slick but doing it so that it performs will be a real trick. I can see how you could make this transparent to applications. I mean, even that would take a tremendous amount of engineering but it’s doable. To make it transparent to an OS is just kind of amazing. I’m trying to picture a hyper-hypervisor. A virtual machine that would manage the resources of many computers?

The 3Leaf Systems Virtual Computing Environment™ enables the dynamic allocation of commodity server resources in a manner transparent to existing operating systems, applications, data center operations, and security paradigms.

Using virtualization techniques, enterprise data centers have resolved the problems of over-provisioning and excessive hardware and software platforms. The 3Leaf Systems’ V-8000 aggregates network and storage resources, enabling dynamic allocation of I/O bandwidth when and where it is needed to further enhance virtualization utility and manageability.

You can get some white papers on the concepts and coming products.

I’ve contacted the company and they followed up with me. As soon as I have some available bandwidth, I’m hoping to get a podcast with some of their engineers and get some details about how this works.

I could see something like this really moving cloud computing (especially private clouds) into the mainstream.


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